BOSTON -- Sergei Samsonov had 2 goals and Hannu Toivonen made 33 saves, but it wasn't enough as the Bruins fell to the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night, 4-3. The Bruins clawed their way back, scoring a goal late in the third period, but Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller closed the door on the comeback.
"I thought we certainly competed and we were happy with the effort from that stand point, but we obviously have to do a better job," Coach Sullivan said. "My main area of concern is we're giving up too many scoring chances. We've got to generate our offense from defense."
The first period had even flow for both teams which made for an exciting start. Buffalo opened the scoring with a power play goal at 14:55 by Daniel Briere on a shot from the right slot.
Just 1:41 later, Buffalo defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick was whistled off for hooking. The Bruins responded in a big way, scoring 10 seconds into the power play. Sergei Samsonov launched the puck top corner off a Kevin Dallman shot, with Joe Thornton picking up the other assist. The assist was Dallman's first NHL career point.
"I was wondering when it was going to come," Dallman noted. "I've been getting a lot of shots and a lot of chances, but it was a great pass by Joe (Thornton) and I just put it on net and Sammy (Sergei Samsonov) knocked it in. It was a great feeling and a relief to get the zeroes wiped from across the board. I'm excited about it, but at the same time I'm disappointed we lost."
In the second period, the play stayed just as fast paced as the first period. The teams traded goals, forcing the third period to be much more intense.
Tom Fitzgerald brought the puck into the Sabres zone just 42 seconds into the period and dropped the puck to Hal Gill. Gill quickly gathered the puck and slid it down in front to P.J. Axelsson who banged it home to take a quick 2-1 lead.
About 13 minutes later, the Buffalo Sabres strung together some nice passing and were able to find Tim Connolly wide open in front to knot it up at 2-2.
2:08 into the third, Buffalo's J.P. Dumont tipped a shot from the point to give the Sabres the 3-2 lead. With 13:48 left to play, Ales Kotalik scored the eventual game winner by deking Toivonen and sliding it underneath his pad.
Less than a minute later though, Sergei Samsonov got his second goal of the night, tipping a Nick Boynton shot from the point. The Bruins were within one goal, but Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller closed the door on the comeback for the 4-3 final.
Sergei Samsonov was quiet after the game, despite his 2 goal night.
"I don't know, I mean it's not because of lack of effort I think, it's not because guys aren't trying hard, it's just maybe we're not putting it in the right direction," Samsonov explained. "The third period we spent a lot of time in the penalty box, and I don't think we're a dirty team, but then they score their third goal and we're down."
Prior to the game, Don Sweeney, who retired before this season after a stellar 16-year NHL career, dropped the ceremonial first puck. 20 fans in attendance were the recipients of the "Shirts Off the Players Back" and one lucky fan won a brand new Ford Mustang, compliments of New England Ford Dealers.